The CBF Take on… Sizing and Labels.

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The language around sizing is really challenging sometimes.  Obviously, we have to use something.  The number system currently used in the fashion industry and on most major retailers are recognized the world over, with some variations depending on what part of the country you are in. For some people though, it is just so packed full of ambiguity and in some cases it can almost verge on traumatic.  The flashbacks of times spent in changing rooms trying to squeeze into a 14. Double checking the label when it doesn’t fasten up. Have I put on weight? I was a 14 when I tried on those pants at another store last week so why don’t these fit?

When in those changing rooms, do you blame the sizing of the clothes or do you go straight to blaming yourself and your size?  It can be tricky to change the thought pattern from “ I was the problem” to “that clothing isn’t right for me”.  When you really strip it down, there are so many factors involved in trying to make clothing. It can depend on the fabric and how much stretch it can handle, the weight, thickness, the cut, the quality of the fastenings. I remember one time trying on two pairs of jeans in a changing room.  Same brand, style, and size, just a different colour. The blue pair fit great, the black pair didn’t fit at all.

Have you ever tried to cut a straight line in cotton with a pair of scissors? That stuff does not play fair.  Then of course there is the designer’s specifications, the manufacturers interpretations of those specifications. I could go on, but the point is, there can be huge variations in the sizing, not just between styles or brands, but even in the clothes themselves.  You could probably try 10 pairs of jeans on in the same range and style and find they all fit just slightly different.

Yet even armed with this knowledge, I still get a wave of happy about me when I find a “12” that fits. Fuck!

There is so much emotional weight attached to those numbers for me sometimes. I’m not sure that the transition to letters is that much better.  Really when you think about what they mean is even more potentially triggering.  “I am Extra Extra Extra Extra Large”.  How is that body positive?

Words can hold so much emotion for some people when it comes to body image.  Words like Fat, Skinny, Heavy, Light (Lite!) Large, Small. Then terms like “plus size”. Plus what mate?  Plus a whole lot of awesome in my humble opinion!   I also find it really interesting that mens sizes are far simpler... mostly just using inches.  Yet when some countries went decimal, they kept the number in inches. Could that have been to avoid centimetres because that is a bigger number? 

How do we take the emotion out of these words? They are just labels after all.  Ask someone who identifies as gender fluid how they feel about labels.   

We could sit here do a huge deep dive into the explosive mine field that is language and labels, and try to be PC about it in the hopes we don’t “offend”,  but we are then just adding to the emotion and putting way too much power into what is essentially just a way of describing something for the purposes of differentiating between things. It is just a way of finding your fit. It doesn’t matter how many XXXXX are in front of your S or L, as long as you feel great in what you wear.




These blogs are just my views of the world.  It’s just my opinion and experiences.  I will try to be as factually correct as possible, but I am human and I make mistakes.  You are completely within your rights to disagree and question.  Feel free to do so with dignity and respect, and I will do the same. That’s how we grow.  Insults, bullying and blatant disregard for facts and the mental health and wellbeing of contributors will be deleted, and if deemed necessary reported to authorities.  I’m not here to put up with bullshit.

 “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

― Albert Einstein

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